Chicago River Day 20/20 still has many events before River Day!

Twenty years ago, Friends of the Chicago River started Chicago River Day with 25 volunteers who dragged shopping carts, mattresses, and plastic bags from its banks. Today, this inspiring event has grown to 4,000 volunteers at 65 locations along the Chicago River.

Celebrate this amazing milestone through Chicago River Day 20/20 – 20 days of events and activities that commemorate this milestone and get people involved. There is something for everyone so scroll through the calendar on the website and see what you can do.  Events include lectures, tree planting, tours and, of course, Chicago River Day.

Climate Change Action Workshop for Community Organizations, 5/15, 10AM

You are Invited to a May 15 Climate Change Action
Workshop for Community Organizations
at The Field Museum

What do daycare, cooking, public art, and gardens have to do with climate change? Come to the workshop and find out!

When: Tuesday, May 15, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (optional tour: 12-12:30)

Where: The Field Museum

RSVP: By May 4th to Kristie Edwards ( or 312-665-7485) with your name, organization, and email. RSVP early – space is limited.

Parking: We have a few free parking spaces available in the Museum’s West Lot, to be given out to the first respondents who request them. Please request parking when you RSVP. You will receive a confirmation email indicating whether we are able to fulfill your request. Paid parking is available in the adjacent Soldier Field lot. We encourage participants to take public transit.

Co-Sponsor: Chicago Wilderness – this workshop is a Chicago Wilderness Climate Clinic

Details: The workshop will share climate change education and action materials from the Museum’s newly launched Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit.  Field Museum scientists will present tools that you can use to educate your community about climate change in the Chicago region and engage them in meaningful climate action work, and partners from Pilsen will share their experience transforming a vacant lot into a climate-friendly native play garden. Presentations will be followed by a brainstorm discussion among participants about how to use Toolkit materials in their ongoing work. The workshop will conclude with an optional guided tour of the Museum’s new Abbott Hall of Conservation Restoring Earth exhibition, focused on using it to educate communities about climate change in both global and local contexts.

Participants will receive free Museum admission for the day for themselves and a few friends or family, and a 2012 Family Pass for one day of free Museum admission to use by the end of this year.

Fifth Annual 10th Ward Green Summit 2012 Partner Kickoff Tomorrow!

You Are Cordially Invited to the Fifth Annual 10th Ward Green Summit 2012 Partner Kickoff

April 27, 2012

Jovial Club

9615 S. Commercial Avenue

Chicago, IL 60617

9:00am Registration & Breakfast

9:30am-11:00am Program

RSVP to Graciela Robledo at 773.734.9181 Ext. 14 or

Claretian Associates – in cooperation with dozens of community organizations – will be hosting the fifth annual 10th Ward Green Summit Kick Off on Friday, April 27. The kick off begins at 9 a.m. at the Jovial Club at 9615 S. Commercial Avenue, Chicago.

The mission of the 10th Ward Green Summit is to offer area residents a cohesive presentation of currently available green, eco-friendly and healthy initiatives designed to enhance the community’s quality of life and promote economic development, by taking into consideration the communities cultural and economic diversity.  This year’s summit will feature events from neighborhood clean up, recycling electronics, to environmental tours, and much more.

The 10th Ward Green Summit has attracted an audience that has doubled each year. Since its conception in 2008, 400 people participated in this daylong event. Now we host a month-long series of activities, that served 2,500 local residents and visitors in 2011.

Homegrown Chicago Accepting Applications

The HomeGrown Chicago community food garden network, sponsored by Openlands, is a training program that focuses on fostering neighborhood groups to assess, plan for, and build long-term stewardship for community-managed green spaces.

The objectives of the program are to promote increased growing and consumption of healthy and affordable local food, establish productive uses for vacant lots, build personal connections among neighbors, and reinforce a citywide network of local gardeners for the exchange of ideas and experiences.

HomeGrown Chicago provides participants a series of four workshops (see schedule below) annually that focus on:

  • Finding and securing land,
  • Establishing a sustainable organizational structure,
  • Designing a garden and growing food organically, and
  • Building garden structures.

The program also provides customized workshops for garden groups; offers a program manual; donates lumber, soil, seeds, and other materials; and encourages participants to share advice and seeds at the beginning of each growing season.

  • Workshop 1-  March 24, 2012 – 9:30  a.m.-12:30 p.m.   Meet successful allotment gardeners and learn the history of this movement.  Learn how to find, test and secure land for your garden.
  • Workshop 2- March 31, 2012 – 9:30  a.m.-12:30 p.m.   Learn how to establish a healthy organization as the first step to ensure that the garden is run effectively, cooperatively and sustainably.
  • Workshop 3-  April  7, 2012 – 9:30  a.m.-12:30 p.m.   Designing the garden, and growing vegetables organically.
  • Workshop 4- April 14, 2012 – 9:30  a.m.-12:30 p.m.  Hands-on demonstrations of building & installing garden structures such as raised beds & trellises in a garden.

Workshop participants will receive a manual, garden materials,  technical assistance and membership in the HomeGrown Chicago Food Garden Network.

Registration: HomeGrown is for groups, not individuals. A minimum of 4 people from each garden is suggested. Tuition for the program is $150.00 for four members and four classes. Registration is limited and starts January 13, 2012 , ends March 10, 2012. For an application contact Julie Samuels (312.863.6256) or click here.


Chicago Cares Workday at Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse, February 11th, 9AM

Explore Garden Stewardship

Chicago Cares Workday at Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse

Saturday, February 11th

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse

3501 N. Kilbourn

For more information, contact 773-685-3359.

Kilbourn Park is home to the Park District’s only organic facility. There is a large greenhouse and a variety of gardens to work in. You will help plant, create new beds, and maintain the indoor and outdoor areas. Projects are held inside of the greenhouse during inclement weather.  All necessary tools will be provided.

Shedd’s Sustainable Seafood Cooking Class for Kids, February 9th, 7:30PM

Explore Sustainable Seafood

Shedd’s Sustainable Seafood Cooking Class for Kids

Thursday, February 9th

7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Dirk’s Fish and Gourmet Shop

2070 N Clybourn

For more information, contact

Did you know your seafood choices can have a big impact on the health of our waters? Everyone can make a differe

Featured Event! Friends of the Parks MLK Jr. Service Day at Whistler Woods, Jan 16th, 9AM

Explore Outdoor Stewardship

Monday, January 16th

Whistler Woods, S Halsted St & W 134th St.

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

RSVP to Mary Eileen Sullivan at

Join Friends of the Parks and Calumet Is My Backyard (C.I.M.B.Y.) at Whistler Woods to celebrate Martin Luther King Day by providing stewardship work.  Volunteers will be doing various outdoor stewardship activities to restore the woods.  Dress in layers and be prepared to get your hands dirty.

C3 and CSI talk with WBEZ about Hegewisch Marsh

Joann Podkul of CSI

Check out this great coverage of C3 and Calumet Stewardship Initiative volunteers working in vernal pools at Hegewisch Marsh over the weekend. Michael Puente from WBEZ joined us to help uncover the great restoration and open space preservation work happening in the area.

Greencorps Calumet

This work would not be possible without the dedicated investment and leadership from community leaders (who are also C3 leaders) like Joann Podkul and Kevin Murphy of the Calumet Stewardship Initiative, Sharon Rolek of the Calumet Ecological Park Association and many more. Thank you to everyone that helped to make the day a great experience for all!

Vernal pool planting

To get involved in stewardship opportunities throughout Chicago in unique and beautiful nature areas right in your backyard, visit the C3 event calendar

Winners of the C3 River Day Challenge Announced

C3 volunteers across the city came out in droves in support of the 19th annual Chicago River Day! Nearly 125 C3 leaders, teachers, students and staff worked on 10 different riverside clean-up locations to demonstrate their dedication to a healthy and functioning river ecosystem.

C3 volunteers from the north and south sides of Chicago organized their regions in a spirited stewardship competition. The region with the greatest C3 representation on River Day will go home the winner. An added bonus, one C3er from each region was entered into a raffle to win a prize generously donated from two local Chicago businesses.

And now, to announce the winners

The winning region of the C3 River Day Challenge is….
THE SOUTH SIDE REGION and all the participants from the following sites:
Origins Park
Riverside Mall
18th Street
Orange Line Ashland stop

The south side winner of the the FREE BIKE TUNE-UP from Blue City Cycles in Bridgeport is C3 leader: WYLANDA HARRIS!

The north side winner of a 50$ gift certificate from Crust Organic Eatery is C3 trainee in the most recent leadership training course: ANNA HUTTEL!


Thank you so much to all who participated in the event! A big thank you to Friends of the Chicago River for hosting a great event! An extra special thanks to Blue City Cycles and Crust Organic Pizzeria for the generous donations.

Chicago River Named the 4th Most Endangered

Repost from Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director Margaret Frisbie.

This morning American Rivers named the Chicago River 4th on its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers because of the continued release of undisinfected sewage effluent from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s (MWRD) sewage treatment plants. This archaic practice leaves recreators at risk from human sewage-based pathogens that can cause illness, especially in children.

American Rivers called on the Illinois Pollution Control Board to approve the proposed water quality standards for the Chicago River that have not been reviewed in more than two decades. These standards would require the MWRD to disinfect sewage effluent. Last week, US EPA said many portions of the river could and should be clean enough for swimming.

Find out what you can do to support the river and take action

Partners in Most Endangered River include Friends of the Chicago River, Environmental Law & Policy Center and Natural Resources Defense Council.

Garlic Mustard Pull Mondays in Eggers Woods Throughout the Month of May

Garlic Mustard is one of the most aggressive invasive plants in our region. Support the ecological health and diversity of our open lands and green space by getting involved in Garlic Mustard Pull Challenge!

Join in the Garlic Mustard Pull Mondays at Eggers Woods each Monday until May 23 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Contact site steward John Pastirik if you plan to attend (773) 991-0613. Eggers Woods is located at East 112th street and Ave. E in the Calumet Region.

This event is a part of the 10 Ward Green Summit, which is a month long effort to highlight the many green initiatives as a result of direct community action to create a healthier and more sustainable region.

Blue City Cycles and Crust Organic Pizzeria Support C3ers on Chicago River Day

We want to give a big shout out to Crust Organic Pizzeria and Blue City Cycles for their support of the C3 River Day Challenge! C3 volunteers and supporters are encouraged to sign for Chicago River Day this Saturday, May 14 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm at riverside locations throughout Chicago.
C3 will be participating at the following sites:
Origins Park
CTA Orange Line
Riverside Mall
18th street
Eugene Park
Fullerton Ave
Lathrop Trail
Berteau Ave
and more!

All participating C3 volunteers will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win some super cool prizes from the local businesses.
North side volunteers could win a gift certificate to Crust in Wicker Park
South side volunteers could win a free bike tune at Blue City Cycles in Bridgeport.
Everybody wins on Chicago River Day. Sign up before it’s too late! If you do sign up, be sure to check in with C3 before so you can get credit for your participation. See you out there!

Raffle winners will be announced Friday, May 20

Explore Urban Agriculture at the Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse: Seed Starting Basics, 1.22 @ 10am

Geeked about gardening? So are we. C3 staff will also be in attendance at this super awesome workshop!

Saturday, January 22
Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse
3501 N. Kilbourn
RSVP: 773.685.3351
Cost: $10

If you are an early bird, come out for the Seed Swap at 9am

Craving unique vegetables? Want those old fashioned French marigolds? Like the delicate herb chervil? Want to show your children the wonders of plants? Sometimes, to get the plants you want–when you want them–you just have to grow them yourself.

Master Gardener and organic advocate Nancy Benjamin will show you the basics of seed starting. Discover seed sources, trays, growing mediums, lights as well as germination tips and times for a whole variety of vegetables and flowers.

This 2-day workshop will be led by Nancy Benjamin, Master Gardener. Saturday, January 22 & February 13, 10- Noon.

In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Chicago Cares Celebration of Service, January 15th.

Through his words and examples, Dr. King inspired a new generation to better their communities. At the Celebration of Service, Chicago Cares challenges you to move from words to deeds through service to your community. When 3,000 of us gather to honor Dr. King on Saturday, January 15, we will be an active part of building and strengthening our city while keeping Dr. King’s dream alive.

Chicago Cares Celebration of Service volunteers make a difference by:

-Serving as role models for children while acting as their “tour guides” through interactive, educational World’s Fair activities.
-Joining older students to reflect on peace and diversity as we address the issue of youth violence.
-Creating a more welcoming environment at our city’s schools and agencies by painting murals, designing mosaics and building benches or banner stands.
-Making reading more fun and accessible by organizing, sorting books and revitalizing a school library.
-Throwing a festive and energetic Dr. King birthday party for adults living with disabilities.
-Brightening a senior’s day by serving a homemade meal, sharing stories and working together on a craft.

The volunteer registration deadline is Monday, January 10 or whenever capacity is reached (whichever comes first). Capacity is limited and registration is expected to fill quickly, so register today.

Special Invitation to join Friends of the Forest Preserves at Dan Ryan Woods, 12.11.10

Photo Credit: The Examiner

Join Chicago Conservation Corps Partner, Friends of the Forest Preserves for a winter wonderland restoration workday at Dan Ryan Woods. Take the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the winter forest and find some respite from the bustle of the holidays. C3 staff will join in the frosty fun.

Please dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, good gloves and bring water and snacks.

Dan Ryan Woods is located at 87th and Western. Please meet in the parking lot 2 blocks East of Western Ave. and 1 block North of 87th St. Carpool options are available. Please let Friends of the Forest Preserves know if you will participate in the carpool in your RSVP.

Please RSVP to Benjamin Cox, 312 356-9990 or

What are you up to this week? Make sure you check out these upcoming conservation events

Photo Credit: Chicago Wilderness

Wednesday, November 3

C3 Leader Theo Harduvel: Weatherize for Tax Credit Workshop
12:00-1:00 pm
Attend this workshop for all your winter weatherization needs, including a weatherization tools and resources.

Lecture with Author Richard Louv
Harold Washington Library
Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
400 S. State
6:00-7:00 pm
Thursday, November 4

Chicago Wilderness Congress
UIC Forum
725 W. Roosevelt
8:00 am-4:30 pm
Register now to ensure your space at this much anticipated event.
Break out sessions will focus on Climate Change, Restoration Management, Green Infrastructure, and Youth Engagement
Saturday, November 6

CANCELED: Green Tech U: Green Furniture; Reuse and Redesign workshop
We regret to say that this workshop has been canceled. We will be sure to post additional information as the event is rescheduled.

Burnham Nature Sanctuary Workday
47th St. & Lake Shore Dr.
Join the Burnham stewardship group in a variety of activities including: trail maintenance, invasive plant species removal, brush cutting, seeding, or planting. Meet in the parking lot located on 47th Street, just west of Lake Shore Drive. Be sure to wear good, closed-toe shoes and long pants. To register, contact: Pam Holy 773-275-2228

Kilbourn Park Organic Green House
Garden Buddies Family Event
3501 N. Kilbourn
10:00 am-12:00 pm
This family event celebrates the season through hands-on activities focusing on the fall leaves and seeds. Your children can make their own leaf journal and fill it up with rubbings, collages, and even their own homemade paper. Kids can learn about seeds through opening up the fall flowers and by planting a seed and watching it grow. We encourage families to collect leaves during a tour of the organic garden. Come enjoy the final days of fall at Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse.
Cost: Fee per child is $5, parents are free
Contact: 773.685.3351 for more information
Sunday, November 7

Support Urban Agriculture -Buy Baked Goods!
Logan Square Kitchen, 2333 N Milwaukee
12:00 pm-4:00 pm
Community Bake Sale to Support Urban Agriculture Projects in Logan Square. Fresh baked focaccia to support Altgeld -Sawyer Community Farm, the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project, and Industrial Harvest. Money raised will support the continuing efforts of the people who make these projects happen. Get a sweet deal and support local food: artisan bread for only $5/loaf!

Explore Community Conservation at the Washington Park Seed Collection Workday 10/16 @ 9 am

Join Washington Park Conservancy and the Chicago Park District for a seed collection and restoration workday
Saturday October 16
9 am-12 pm
Meet at the Fountain of Time
(near Cottage Grove and Midway Plaisance).
Please register in advance by contacting

Fall in an important time in Chicago’s parks, forest preserves and natural areas. As the season draws to a close, autumn is a time of thinking ahead to the next growing season and reflecting back on the successes and challenges.

A big part of thinking and planning ahead is seed collection. After a bountiful season of flowers, fruits, and foliage, natural areas keep on giving, even as they enter into dormancy. Seed production is a plant’s built-in safe guard to ensure reproduction in the next growing season.

We invite you to get acquainted with Chicago’s natural areas this fall! Volunteers can play an important role in natural area restoration work, especially in the fall when there are so many seeds to collect! Collecting seeds is a great way to get acquainted with the plants in your area and increase appreciate of nature’s powerful evolutionary protections. After autumn seed collection, stewards and natural area managers spend the winter months planning for spring, which is very much informed by the available seeds produced during the previous growing season.

Explore Stewardship with the Friends of the Parks Dunning Read Conservation Area Workday

Fall is an important time for seed collection, planning and planting in natural areas. Come out and get your hands dirty with Friends of the Parks on Saturday October 9 at 9:00 am- 12:00 pm

Why should you join us?
The Dunning Read Conservation Area is one of two conservation areas within Chicago’s limits. The Dunning Read site has a unique and noteworthy history that is sure to strike right at the heart of any community-oriented environmentalist. Once threatened by development, this parcel was salvage as a result the organized advocacy of neighborhood organizations, it now stands as a vibrant restoration area for native plants and wildlife.

How do you get involved?
Friends of the Parks hosts a monthly volunteer workday to provide the public with opportunities to collect seeds and assist with fall planting at a this conservation site that is home to a unique and diverse
range of ecosystems and biodiversity.

To volunteer for this workday, please register by contacting:
Mary Eileen Sullivan at

Explore the Chicago River with the Flatwater Classic

October is nearly here. To us that means one special thing: Friends of the Chicago River Flatwater Classic.

Not familiar with the Flatwater Classic? It is a celebration of our fine river as a place of recreation and habitat for over 70 birds species and 60 fish species. The Chicago River Flatwater Classic is the only canoe and kayak race on the Chicago River where 10 – 12 teams compete for the Voyageur trophy. The race then opens up to hundreds of individual racers and non-competitive participants.

Teams can register with Friends of the Chicago River today

If you are little squeamish about the competition, be sure to register as an event volunteer and spend a great day in the fall sun.

Need more reasons to get out there?

Friends of the Chicago River founded the Flatwater Classic in 2000 to give people a chance to see the Chicago River and learn for themselves why it needs their help. The goal is a clean, accessible river that can be shared by the people, plants, and animals that call our watershed home.